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Long-term separation vs. divorce

Physical separation is a normal precursor to a divorce. Sometimes the separation is amicable, but usually, it is the result of a culmination of altercations, the final one being the penultimate "move out." But, as time and distance bring perspective, sometimes couples decide to try again or separate. It is in this limbo that some people get stuck into the separation vs. divorce dynamic. This post will go over this dynamic and bring some perspective to your choice.

You may prefer long-term separation. While you are separated, you can continue to enjoy the legal and tax benefits of being married while still enjoying the social aspects of being single. But you also risk exposing yourself because you now remain financially and legally liable for your spouse's actions. It is a delicate choice.

Long-term separation may seem ideal, for the reasons stated above. But any "deal" that you work out lacks the enforceability of a final divorce decree issued by the court. That means any child custody or support deals you arrange can be changed at any moment if your ex-spouse decides to file for formal divorce.

Additionally, you remain liable for any debts your spouse incurs, even if you are separated. It also gives your ex-spouse more time to hide assets and gift away marital property. In short, if you decide to remain separated, there are some benefits, but it is extremely risky.

If you have any questions about whether to divorce or hold-off in a separation, you may want to speak to a lawyer. An attorney can walk you through the pros and cons of both choices and answer any questions you may have about family law issues. There are benefits to both and it mostly depends on your needs and preferences.

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